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F cus CLB

Dec. Newsletter 2011

Next Step in Reaching the Bagirmi

MATTHEW ROGNESS

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t the fall meeting of the Council of Directors, they voted unanimously to call Nathanael and Carrie Szobody to serve as missionaries among the Bagirmi (Barma) of Chad. During the past 12-18 months, a cluster of congregations in Minnesota has been forming to support this ministry. The current cluster includes Hope Lutheran Brethren Church in Barnesville, Bethel Lutheran Church in Fergus Falls, and Swan Lake Lutheran Church in rural

Nathanael and Carrie Szobody and family

Fergus Falls. This cluster continues to seek congregations to join them in this mission partnership. The Szobodys are currently living in France where Carrie is studying French and Nathanael is in his last year of a Master of Arts in Theology program. Lord willing, they will return to the United States early next summer where they will visit the mission cluster congregations, take pre-field training courses and prepare for their move to Chad for ministry.

The Szobodys will be commissioned for missionary service at the Biennial Convention in August of 2012. May we as the Church of the Lutheran Brethren uphold this family in prayer during this time of preparation. Rev. Matthew Rogness is Director of Lutheran Brethren International Mission.

Watch the “People Group Adoption� Video Online! clbnetwork.org/focus www.clba.org


An Interview with the Szobodys How did God reveal his plan for you to be a missionary? Before we met, Carrie and I had both known that we wanted to be involved in international ministry. Carrie had worked in an orphanage in Uganda for a month when she was in college. As I lived in Chad with my family during high school, I was able to witness the development of the Lutheran Brethren’s vision to reach Muslim tribes in Chad. I felt myself implicated early on and actively sought to be, in my own way, a part of the local Muslim community. When Carrie and I met in 2008, she was working on her M. A. in Theology and I was finishing my B. A. in Theology, neither of us had a clear idea of why we were pursuing that particular academic track. However, we noticed a mutual interest in mission work in Africa during the first days of our relationship. As our relationship progressed, so did the development of our desire to serve in Chad with the Lutheran Brethren.

Did you face any obstacles or distractions while following God’s lead to this ministry?

How do you see God working through this process as you prepare for this ministry?

Not particularly. In the fall of 2008 we spoke with Matthew Rogness about our desire to go to Chad. We knew that it would be several years at least before International Mission would be ready to bring us on board. During this time of waiting I finished my B.A. while Carrie and I taught at a Christian grade school in Wheaton, IL. After my graduation we followed the Lord’s leading in the direction of further theological education. We went to France to live with my parents as I pursued a M.A. in theology at the same facility where my dad was finishing his doctorate. My research focused on Christian origins of parts of the Qur’an. My desire was primarily to understand how the Muslim attitude to Christianity was shaped so that I could have a more intelligent interaction with Muslims in whatever future ministry capacity we might find ourselves.

Let me count the ways…The two singularly obvious ways that God has gone before us in this task are firstly in preparing the Lutheran Brethren congregations to send and support a missionary to the Bagirmi Barma people, and secondly in providing for us to live in France for two years so that I could continue my theological education and Carrie could start learning French. Having grown up on the mission field it is quite remarkable to see the initiative of the American congregations in regards to reaching the Bagirmi with the gospel. Often a missionary must “sell” his vision to the American congregation in order to be sent, but in this case the Holy Spirit’s work seems abundantly clear to us in that He has prepared the hearts of all involved. This gives us great confidence in God’s calling and we are eager to move forward by his grace.

“Having grown up on the mission field it is quite remarkable to see the initiative of the American congregations in regards to reaching the Bagirmi with the gospel.” - Nathanael Szobody

Visit the Lutheran Brethren International Mission website for more information about our missionaries and their ministries. www.lbim.org www.clba.org


Focus Trusting God Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” When considering how to use the resources that God has entrusted to you, do you consider the implications of giving to facilitate the spread of the Gospel? Is there anything else that can give a return on resources that comes close to the eternal effect of giving the Word? A question we all need to answer in the context of giving is this: Where does my security come from? Is it from money in the bank, a good retirement fund, a good job, or a great investment? How much control do I need to exercise over money I give away? Do I ever worry that I gave too much money to church? Answers to these questions show us whether we depend upon money or its alter egos for security. We know intellectually that there is no security in money. But do we live and act as if there were? We would never say that we trust in money for our salvation. We know that God is the only One we can trust for that. But do we trust Him for our security in this world? And I don’t mean only our security in eternity when we leave this place. I mean, moment by moment, do we trust God to care for us and never leave us? Do we believe that God can take care of us even if everything we own were taken away from us? I am giving an extreme example to make a point. If any of our resources are so important to us that we couldn’t be happy and content without them, then we are trusting in them instead of God! There is Good News. God understands

and Christ paid the penalty even for that lack of trust we have as Christians. God’s approach to our shortcomings and failures (sin) is so radical that we have nothing with which to compare it. His way is not our way. His goal is not to scold you for not trusting Him (although it grieves His heart) or shaming you into doing better (you can’t anyway). He gives you His Word, the Sacraments and His own Spirit so that you will know that you can trust Him completely, for everything and in every situation – even those of your own making! Doesn’t a God like that who loves like that make you want to bask in His sunshine and tell everyone the Good News? By giving to your church and its ministries including our joint ministries through the Church of the Lutheran Brethren, you

n ROY HEGGLAND

are investing God’s resources (we really don’t own anything) in the very thing He has invested Himself - people. Will you join with our family of congregations and friends in supporting our joint ministries through your prayers and financial support? Thank you. Roy Heggland serves the CLB as Associate for Biblical Stewardship.

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F cus Family Matters

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ear Members and Friends, Many of you faithfully and sacrificially support the joint ministries of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren through your support of your local congregations. Although, in most cases, we do not know exactly who gave or when you gave your gifts, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge your gifts and thank you for your regular support of North America Mission, International Mission, Lutheran Brethren Seminary and General Ministries. I pray that God will bless each of you as we minister together to His glory. God’s Blessings, Joel Egge, President

31%

($65,000 behi nd our goal)

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www.clba.org/giving

BY MAIL (U.S.):

P. O . B o x 6 5 5 Fergus Falls, MN 56538

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Accumulated Difference

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P. O . B o x 7 3 9 Birch Hills, SK S0J 0G0


CLB Focus: 2011-12  

Next steps in reaching the unreached. Nathanael and Carrie will be commissioned as missionaries to Chad, Africa, at the 2012 Biennial Conven...

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